“I don’t know if it’s city pride, but I love living in San Diego,” Tostado tells CityBeat. “It’s easy enough to drive up [to Los Angeles] for meetings now and again, but there’s a pretty good community of filmmakers here in San Diego, so I decided to make a go of it here.”
Under the Boardwalk, which will premier at UltraStar Mission Valley on Friday, March 4, is in the same vein as recent films like Spellbound or The King of Kong, documentaries that explore a competitive subculture’s history, profile the competitors and culminate with a championship. Zachary Levi (of TV’s Chuck) narrates, offering up Monopoly’s origins and a number of cool anecdotes about the history, profile the competitors and culminate with a championship.
But it’s the characters vying for the game’s championship who are most interesting. There’s the teacher whose students learn math via Monopoly and the Machiavellian lawyer who seems determined to poison the other players. There’s the former U.S. champ defending his crown and the unknown upstart hoping to bankrupt his competition.
No, a Monopoly tournament doesn’t have quite the thrill or heartbreak of those tourneys in the other films I mentioned, but there’s plenty of glitz and tension when the World Championship goes down in Las Vegas. For Tostado, though, it was the culmination of two years of shooting. When the film opens, he and Bentley will have worked on the project for almost twice that long.
“Monopoly’s always been my favorite game,” he says. “It was always a childhood staple, something I could count on, and probably the first time I handled money was through the game. For me, as a lifelong fan of Monopoly, getting to travel around the world, meet some of the top players from around the world, people who know the history, getting to see some of the very early Monopoly sets, or that are in private collections, it’s been a dream come true.”
The Adjustment Bureau: Matt Damon is an aspiring politician who unwittingly discovers the difference between free will and predestination. The adaptation of the Phillip K. Dick short story doesn’t always work, but the chemistry between Damon and Emily Blunt is nice.
Beastly: Alex Pettyfer is a nasty, good-looking high-schooler who torments goth-y Mary-Kate Olsen. turns out she’s a witch. Bad move, dude.
Inside Job: After winning the Best Documentary Oscar, this scathing look at the financial collapse reopens for a run at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Rango: Johnny Depp voices an animated lizard forced to save a western town from bandits. Directed by Gore Verbinski, who catapulted Depp’s asking price with the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Take Me Home Tonight: A soundtrack in search of a movie. Topher Grace is an MIT grad working in a video store who lies about his job when he runs into his high-school crush. It totally works—until she finds out the truth.
Vanishing on 7th Street: A creepy thriller with a little ambiguity. A small group of survivors takes refuge in a Detroit bar after the rest of the population goes missing and the darkness seems to come to life. See our review on Page 18.
ONE TIME ONLY
Spirit of the Beehive: After a young girl in rural Spain in 1940 sees Frankenstein, she and her sister decide to locate the monster. An absolute classic film and a brilliant allegory, this is a One Book, One San Diego screening. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Sixteen Candles: Fact: This film, which kicks off John Hughes-appreciation month at The Pearl, was prescient: Everyone lusted after Molly Ringwald, the slightly alt.girl, and the geek (in this case, Anthony Michael Hall) inherited the Earth. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
La Mama: An American Nun’s Life in a Mexican Prison: Title pretty much says it all. Screens at 1 p.m. Friday, March 4, in Room 204 of the Mira Costa College San Elijo campus in Cardiff.
Mummies: A scientifically oriented IMAX look at the easiest of the monsters to outrun. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4 (and again on March 11), at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Imagine: A Portrait of the Painter: An hour-long documentary about painter Howard Hodgkin, in conjunction with an exhibit of his work.
There’s a lecture at 7, and the film rolls at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.
FilmOut Triple Feature: Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure: Man, they just don’t make star-studded disaster films like this anymore. Hell, Paul Newman was in Inferno. The details are on Page 12. The first one starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Arsenic and Old Lace: Cary Grant learns his two aunts have been taking in elderly single men as boarders and then kindly murdering them in Frank Capra’s 1944 dark comedy. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Fight Club: Can’t talk about the movie without breaking the rules. Screens at midnight, Saturday, March 5, at the Ken Cinema.
The Economics of Happiness: A documentary about the two directions we’re going. On the one hand, you’ve got multinationals. On the other, farmers markets. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 7, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Rise: Encore presentation of the documentary about the 1961 U.S. figureskating team, which was completely wiped out in a plane crash en route to the world championships. Screens at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 7, at several area theaters. Check fathomevents.com for locations and ticket info.
Dr. Strangelove: Peter Sellers is brilliant in all three of his roles in Kubrick’s masterpiece of political gamesmanship. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Go Tell the Spartans: Burt Lancaster plays a U.S. military advisor in the early days of the Vietnam War who thinks it’s an unwinnable situation. Made in 1978, shortly after the war’s conclusion. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: John Hughes classic about the benefits of cutting class. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Cold Weather: It’s a mumblecore mystery! A former forensic-science grad student goes home to Portland and takes an aimless job just in time for his ex-girlfriend to go missing.
Drive Angry: So, Nicolas Cage is in hell. Literally. But when he finds out a cult is about to murder his granddaughter, he busts out, which Satan doesn’t take so kindly to. Probably in a muscle car, definitely in 3-D.
Even the Rain: A crew of filmmakers, including Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar, is making a movie in Bolivia about Christopher Columbus. Getting in their way is a local uprising about water rights, which just happens to parallel the Indians’ struggle against the Spanish 500 years prior.
Hall Pass: Best friends Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis are given one week off from their marriages, no questions asked, in the new Farrelly brothers movie.
Kaboom: Gregg Araki’s new film is full of college of kids who party, have sex and unearth a massive conspiracy. Ends March 3 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son: The first two were so good, they simply had to make another.
Cedar Rapids: Yes, it’s another raunchy, R-rated film, but Ed Helms brings a lot of heart to his first leading role. It’s occasionally predicable, but this story of an insurance salesman who’s finally leaving his small town for the bright lights of Cedar Rapids, isn’t stupid. John C. Reilly shines as a dirtyjoke factory.
I Am Number 4: Alex Pettyfer is a high-school-age alien being chased by some other aliens. He’s got cool powers. And great cheekbones. And a cute girl he’s into. It’s sci-fi for the Twilight set.
Unknown: Liam Neeson wakes up after a car crash only to discover that his wife (January Jones) doesn’t recognize him, his identity has been coopted by Aidan Quinn and a whole bunch of guys want to kill him.
Gnomeo & Juliet: If it sounds like a CGI-animated cartoon, that’s because it is one. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt voice garden gnomes who have the hots for each other.
Ip Man 2: The second film about Ip Man, the legendary martial arts instructor who was also Bruce Lee’s mentor, focuses on his migration to post-war Hong Kong.
Just Go with It: It had to happen. Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston make a romantic comedy.
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: Or, you know, feel free to say never.
Oscar Nominated Short Films: All 10 short films that received Oscar nominations will play the Ken Cinema for a week. They’re split into two programs—live-action and animated—and you should see both.
The Roommate: A hot college student (Minka Kelly) becomes besties with her new roommate (Leighton Meester), who’s an obsessive sociopath who’s gone off her meds. Think Single White Female: The College Years.
Barney’s Version: Paul Giamatti won a Golden Globe for this epic look at a man who drinks and smokes and marries his way through life. It goes on too long, though, and stays a little too faithful to Mordecai Richler’s novel.
Biutiful: Javier Bardem gives a tremendous performance as Uxbal, a single father in Barcelona desperately trying to keep his head above water while facing his own mortality.
The Mechanic: In this remake of the ’72 muscle movie, Jason Statham is a hitman with ethics, and Ben Foster is his murdered mentor’s son. Together they’re gonna go medieval on somebody’s ass.
The Rite: An American priest heads to the Vatican to learn the ways of exorcism from Anthony Hopkins, who must have his eye on a really nice boat to appear in a movie like this.
The Illusionist: Director Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) animates a script from French cinema titan Jacques Tati about an aging magician and the young woman he unintentionally takes under his wing.
The Company Men: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper are all downsized from the same company and have to sort out what to do with themselves in the new economy.
Another Year: Mike Leigh’s film is about the ease with which longtime married couple Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and Tom (Jim Broadbent) navigate a turning of the seasons, while everyone else goes through enormous upheavals. Most affected is Mary, Gerri’s alcoholic co-worker, played by Lesley Manville in an excellent performance. Ends March 3 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
The Green hornet: Seth Rogen in a superhero movie written by Seth Rogen and the other guy who wrote Superbad. Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). In 3-D. That’s a lot to take in.
Blue Valentine: Michelle Williams is just amazing as one half of a couple (along with Ryan Gosling) whose marriage has fallen apart.
Rabbit Hole: Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart are a couple struggling with the death of their young son, eight months later. He’s all about celebrating the boy’s life while she just wants it to disappear.
True Grit: The Coen brothers adapt Clinton Portis’ novel, with Jeff Bridges playing Rooster Cogburn, the part that earned John Wayne his only Oscar.
The Fighter: For some, the acting of Christian Bale and Melissa Leo in David O. Russell’s working-class boxing movie is authentic and real. For others, it’s scenery-chewing.
The King’s Speech: Though he should have taken a walk to the podium this year, Colin Firth will probably win an Oscar for playing King George VI, the monarch who led his people into WWII despite his almost-crippling stammer. Geoffrey Rush is great as his speech therapist.
Black Swan: Natalie Portman has to find both sides of herself as a ballerina obsessed with playing the lead in Swan Lake in the new one from Darren Aronofsky. Well-directed, beautifully shot, completely bonkers.
Tangled: Disney’s take on Rapunzel is surprisingly terrific. Mandy Moore is the singing princess, Zachary Levi the dashing thief, and they’re both upstaged by an animated horse. And for once, the 3-D contributes to the movie.
127 Hours: Danny Boyle changes pace once again. Instead of the frenetic energy of Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours is pretty much a one-man show, with James Franco playing Aron Ralston, a hiker forced to cut off his own arm to survive.
Galapagos: An IMAX look at the islands and the animals that made Charles Darwin famous. We’re most fond of the blue-footed boobie. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Social Network: David Fincher’s new film about the early days of Facebook is more entertaining than 99.9 percent of status updates.
Winter’s Bone: Debra Granik’s noir thriller, set in a closed meth-cooking community in the Ozarks, is as intense and grim as its name. It’s well-written and well-made and features an amazing performance from Jennifer Lawrence, a 17-year-old who has to find her deadbeat father or she and her young brother and sister will lose their home.
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: The latest IMAX entry at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park follows super surfer Kelly Slater as he does his thing on some massive waves.
Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at saturn’s rings. Just stay away from Uranus. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas,